Contemplative Prayer

Contemplative Prayer— A mystical prayer practice that leads one into the "silence" but in actuality leads away from God.


Definition of Contemplative Spirituality: a belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).

by Ray Yungen

It was Alice Bailey (the famous occult prophetess who coined the term New Age), who made this startling assertion:

It is, of course, easy to find many passages which link the way of the Christian Knower with that of his brother in the East. They bear witness to the same efficacy of method.

What did she mean by the term “Christian Knower”? The answer is unmistakable! … [O]ccultism is awakening the mystical faculties to see God in everything. In Hinduism, this is called reaching samadhi or enlightenment. It is the final objective of yoga meditation: God in everything – a force or power flowing through all that exists. William Johnston believes such an experience exists within the context of Christianity. He explains:

What I can safely say, however, is that there is a Christian samadhi that has always occupied an honored place in the spirituality of the West. This, I believe, is the thing that is nearest to Zen. It is this that I have called Christian Zen.

The famous psychologist Carl Jung predicted this system would be the yoga of the west. Christian Zen? Christian yoga? These seem to be oxymorons, like military pacifism or alcoholic sobriety. Christians, conservative ones at least, have always viewed these concepts as heretical and anti-biblical. The word most commonly used for it is pantheism – all is God. But when one looks at the Christian Zen movement one discovers a similar term, which for all practical purposes, means the same thing. This term is called panentheism?God is in all things….

[Does] panentheism have a legitimate place in orthodox Christianity? This is a vital question because panentheism is the foundational worldview among those who engage in mystical prayer. Ken Kaisch, a Episcopal priest and a teacher of mystical prayer, made this very clear in his book, Finding God, where he noted:

Meditation is a process through which we quiet the mind and the emotions and enter directly into the experience of the Divine…. there is a deep connection between us … God is in each of us.

Here lies the core of panentheism: God is in everything and everything is in God. The only difference between pantheism and panentheism is how God is in everything. This position of the panentheist is challenging to understand: Your outer personality is not God, but God is still in you as your true identity. This explains why mystics say, all is one. At the mystical level, they experience this God-force that seems to flow through everything and everybody. All creation has God in it as a living, vital presence. It is just hidden.

The theological implications of this worldview put it at direct odds with biblical Christianity for obvious reasons. Only one true God exists, and His identity is not in everyone. The fullness of God?s identity, in bodily form, rests in Jesus Christ and Him only!

Click here to read this entire excerpt from A Time of Departing.

See more on Contemplative Spirituality.

Note: To understand what contemplative prayer entails, we recommend you read A Time of Departing.

The purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one's true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer.

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"Contemplative consciousness," says [Thomas] Merton, is "a trans-cultural, trans-religious, trans-formed consciousness … it can shine through this or that system, religious or irreligious"(Thoughts on the East, p.34)


"Sparked by Eastern meditative techniques, today's version of centering prayer is bent on stilling the mind."

Listen to What Contemplatives Have To Say About This Form of Prayer and the Contemplative Lifestyle.

"For Fr. Bede, being universal meant to be centered and grounded. He generated this universality of heart through his daily practice of meditation and contemplative prayer, and this opened him ever more to the myths, symbols and teachings of the other great religions of the world."
Man, Monk, Mystic by Pascaline Coff, O.S.B. Speaking of Bede Griffiths.

"This understanding of the unity of the human family is central to Christianity. Our spiritual journey, especially contemplative prayer, together with its practices for daily life, are processes of becoming aware of just how profound that unity is with God, ourselves, other people, other living beings, the earth, and all creation." Thomas Keating in The Transformation of Suffering

"... beyond our methods and understanding is an ultimate reality that is open to all people regardless of their religious traditions. The overwhelming sense of this groundbreaking conference was the unifying force of a contemplative prayer practice."
Jena Hatchett WCCM 2001

Did Jesus instruct his followers to empty their minds through contemplative prayer?

On the contrary He said,
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your MIND."
Matthew 22:37 [NKJV]


"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." Heb 13:9


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